Aksamija, Ajla

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Professor, Department of Architecture
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Building science and sustainability
Digital design and representations
Emerging technologies
Information modeling
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Ajla Aksamija, PhD, LEED AP BD+C, CDT is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received PhD in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with an emphasis on technology and environment. Her interdisciplinary research approach spans architecture, engineering, material and computer science. Her research expertise includes building science and sustainable design, emerging building technologies, and digital design.
Dr. Aksamija directed Perkins and Will Building Technology Laboratory (“Tech Lab”), one of the first practice-driven research laboratories focusing on advanced building technologies, high-performance buildings, computational design, and building facades. Her prior professional experience also includes US Army Corps of Engineers ERDC Construction Engineering Research Laboratory and City of Champaign. She has worked on developing building analysis and modeling applications, implementation of novel materials in architectural design, development of computational models, and has collaborated with researchers from material science, civil and environmental engineering and computational design.
Dr. Aksamija is the author of two books, Integrating Innovation in Architecture: Design, Methods and Technology for Progressive Practice and Research (Wiley, 2016) and Sustainable Facades: Design Methods for High-Performance Building Envelopes (Wiley, 2013). Her forthcoming book, Research Methods for the Architectural Profession, will be published by Routledge in early 2021. She has also contributed to several other books, and has published over seventy research articles and invited papers. She has presented at various national and international conferences, and is a frequent speaker at industry-based, scientific and academic conferences. She is the founder and editor of the Perkins and Will Research Journal.

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Experimental Study of Operating Conditions and Integration of Thermoelectric Materials in Facade Systems
    (2019-01-01) Aksamija, Ajla; Aksamija, Zlatan; Counihan, Chris; Brown, Dylan; Upadhyaya, Meenakshi
    This article discusses the application of thermoelectric (TE) materials in building facade systems, which can be used to create active exterior enclosures. TEs are semiconductors that have the ability to produce a temperature gradient when electricity is applied, exploiting the Peltier effect, or to generate a voltage when exposed to a temperature gradient, utilizing the Seebeck effect. TEs can be used for heating, cooling, or electricity generation. In this research, heating and cooling applications of these novel systems were explored. We designed and constructed two prototypes, where one prototype was used to study integration of TE modules (TEMs) as stand-alone elements in the facade, and one prototype was used to explore integration of TEMs and heat sinks in facade assemblies. Both prototypes were tested for heating and cooling potential, using a thermal chamber to represent four different exterior environmental conditions (−18°,−1°,16°, and 32°C). The interior ambient conditions were kept constant at room temperature. The supplied voltage to facade-integrated TEMs varied from 1 to 8 V. We measured temperature outputs of TEMs for all investigated thermal conditions using thermal imaging, which are discussed in this article. The results indicate that while stand-alone facade-integrated TEMs are not stable, addition of heat sinks improves their performance drastically. Facade-integrated TEMs with heatsinks showed that they would operate well in heating and cooling modes under varying exterior environmental conditions.
  • Publication
    Negative life-cycle emissions growth rate through retrofit of existing institutional buildings: Energy Analysis and Life Cycle Assessment of a Case Study of University Dormitory Renovation
    (2015-01-01) Tabatabaee, Somayeh; Weil, Benjamin S; Aksamija, Ajla
    ABSTRACT: Buildings account for about one fifth of the world`s total delivered energy use, and thus methods for reducing energy consumption and carbon emission associated with buildings are crucial elements for climate change mitigation and sustainability. Voluntary challenges, mandates, and, particularly, public institutions have articulated these goals in terms of striving for “net-zero energy” buildings, and mandated measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Typically, the definition of net-zero and other energy consumption reduction goals only consider operational energy. By ignoring embodied energy during the entire life-cycle of the building (manufacture, use and demolition of materials and systems), such goals and mandates may drive suboptimal decisions in terms of cost-effective greenhouse gas emission reductions. Many new buildings will require decades of net-zero operational energy consumption to negate climate change and other environmental impacts during the construction process. Additionally, if a new building is part of a portfolio of institutional buildings, even with net-zero energy consumption, the most optimistic scenario is the eventual reduction of emission growth rate to zero. A more productive approach for reducing the life-cycle energy in a building and associated negative environmental impacts may be to focus on retrofitting existing buildings. However, since large investments in existing building stock can be difficult to justify and approve in an institutional context, fixed portions of life-cycle costs also highlight the importance of maximizing the operational energy impact associated with any renovation. This study uses life-cycle analysis to evaluate efficacy of energy retrofits for an existing institutional building located on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. Using data, energy models, and life-cycle analysis tools for an actual energy retrofit on an existing residential building, this study will show how poor controls and failing to address thermal bridges can affect our model expectations. By developing a process for life cycle based evaluating retrofit options this study will explore the implication of producing an institution-wide negative net-energy growth rate.
  • Publication
    UMass Amherst Green Building Guidelines v.2 and LEEDv4
    (2016-01-01) Landrey, Kylie A.; Mendoza, Ted; Pavlova-Gillham, Ludmilla; Farzinmoghadam, Mohamad; Tabatabaee, Somayeh; Mostafavi, Nariman; Mann, Ray Kinoshita; Dalzell, Jeffrey; Aksamija, Ajla
    Facilities & Campus Services supports sustainability and energy conservation initiatives by providing in-house resources to campus staff as well as designers, contractors and other consultants working with the University. The UMass Amherst Green Building Guidelines v2 and LEED v4 provide a framework for approaching new construction and major renovation projects at UMass Amherst that are undergoing LEED v4 certification by focusing the conversation on those green building aspects that are most important to the campus. They are intended to be the beginning of a dynamic conversation between designers, environmental consultants and constructors, university stakeholders, and users of new high performance buildings.